New man for the job:

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 5, 2002

TSU tabs former Alabama assistant as Lady Trojans’ new coach


Sports Editor

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New Troy State head women’s basketball coach Michael Murphy brings a unique coaching philosophy to Sartain Hall’s Trojan Arena.

"I don’t worry about the wins and losses. I worry about my players going out and competing everyday. Whether it be on the track, in the weight room, in the gym or in class," Murphy said at a Wednesday press conference to announce his acceptance of the Lady Trojans’ vacant head coaching position.

"I’ve found if you focus on the internal competition, working at getting better yourself, the wins and losses will take care of themselves."

Athletic Director Johnny Williams said Murphy stood out among the applications the university received for the job.

"His experience, philosophy, professionalism and knowledge of basketball in this state made him the obvious choice. His enthusiasm is contagious," said Williams.

Murphy takes over for the departed Jerry Hester, who resigned on March 12 after seven seasons as Troy State’s head coach. The 40-year-old Murphy comes to Troy following five years as an assistant under TSU graduate, and winningest basketball coach (men’s or women’s) in University of Alabama history, Rick Moody.

Murphy complemented Moody, two of the Crimson Tide’s former head coaches, David Hobbs and Wimp Sanderson, and Costal Carolina Coach Russ Bergman, who Murphy was also an assistant under from 1989-91. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Sanderson in 1987.

"I’ve been very fortunate to work with some very good players and coaches," he said.

He also payed a special complement to his new university.

"This is a special place," Murphy said about Troy State, "and we have a lot to work with. I’ve always thought that Troy State has had the potential. I want to come in with everyone fresh and on the same page and no pre-formulated ideas about the players we have, other then to say that everyone has a fresh start."

Fresh starts for the Troy State women’s basketball program starts next week when Murphy holds his first practice with his future team. The Lady Trojans return 11 players off a roster of 13 from last year’s 11-17 squad.

"I can’t begin to tell you how we’re going to play, because we haven’t had one practice yet," said Murphy. "Are we going to play zone, are we going to play man, are we going to run?

I don’t know. We just have to find some common ground that we can all play on."

Recruiting, according to Murphy, will play a big part in the Lady Trojans’ success, or failure, on the court also.

"It is our goal to get the very best players that we can," Murphy said. "I think, if

they can help you win, you need to go after the in-state players first, because it gives a feel of ownership to the team."

This is Murphy’s second head coaching job and his biggest. Murphy previously coached at the NAIA’s Viterbro University in La Crosse, Wis., from 1992 to 1995, finishing his three-year tenure with a 72-26 record overall.

"Coaching both men’s and women’s college basketball will help me," he said. "You can’t replace experience, you have to live it."

Murphy admits, however, that being a head coach and being an assistant are two different things.

"As an assistant, you have all the answers," he said. "But slide over just 18 inches on the bench and everything you do starts to have direct consequences."